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Hoosier Workers, Unions Rally For Racial And Economic Justice

Jun 18, 2020

Workers honked their vehicle horns and displayed signs with messages including "Support our Heroes" and "Black Lives Matter" outside the Statehouse.
Credit Justin Hicks / IPB News

Almost 100 workers in Indiana drove laps around the Statehouse as part of a national Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice. It’s sponsored by labor unions across the state and led by the AFL-CIO.

Organizers say the caravan calls for state and federal government officials to address the public health pandemic and its economic effects. It also meant to draw support for the HEROES Act in Congress. It would extend the additional $600 a week of unemployment benefits through January and add hazard pay for essential workers.

Brett Voorhies, president of the Indiana AFL-CIO, says he wants state officials to pay attention to and enforce safety standards as workers return to their jobs.

“Yeah one of our biggest concerns is actually putting them back in harm’s way,” he says. “I mean, you’re basically sending them in – some of them – to a death sentence.”

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Indiana Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dr. Woody Myers attended the rally. He says if elected this November, he would repeal the state’s right-to-work legislation and use executive orders to support worker unions.

“We’ll use that power as aggressively and creatively as we can to chip away at what’s been 15 years of opposition to the organization of men and women bargaining for their rights in our state,” he says. “That’s what we’ll do.”

Many cars also held “Black Lives Matter” signs to show solidarity with black workers in the movement against structural racism.

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.